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PFCD Experts Cite Health Information Technology as Key Investment for Economic Stimulus
Date:1/14/2009

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- PFCD Executive Director Ken Thorpe and Alan Aviles, President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, spoke to reporters today about the potential inclusion of health information technology (HIT) in the economic stimulus package. President-elect Barack Obama has indicated his desire to make the immediate investments necessary to ensure America's medical records are computerized within five years.

"There's no question that our country needs a short-term remedy to this economic crisis, and that health care should be included in this solution," said Thorpe. "With a growing population of chronically ill Americans, many of whom see numerous providers, health information technology provides a sound economic approach to better managing and reducing the costs of treating this group and while facilitating better coordination of care. We commend President-elect Obama for urging investment in an area that will serve as a critical backbone of a 21st century health care system."

Aviles spoke on behalf of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), a safety net health system which has invested in advanced, integrated health technology throughout its facilities, establishing itself as an innovator in this area. Aviles talked about technology used at HHC facilities to manage chronic diseases. He also spoke about the economic crisis and the impact on safety net hospitals, stating: "It is critical that Congress consider direct relief for safety net hospitals in the economic stimulus plan in order to ensure that the uninsured and under-insured can access the care they need during the crisis."

HHC is a member of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH), a PFCD partner.

As stated in the PFCD's Policy Platform, health information technology:

  • Provides easy access to comprehensive patient records electronically, thus making it easier to see a patient's medical history;
  • Helps providers track patient care in order to reduce duplication of services, address patient issues, and coordinate care with care managers;
  • Offers providers access to reference materials during a patient visit;
  • Provides clinicians real-time guidance on standards of care; and
  • Sends reminders and prompts to patients about visits, tests, and recommendations and prescriptions.

Unfortunately, the health system is not yet routinely using HIT to improve Americans' care quality. Only one in five (20 percent) of U.S. patients has computerized health records.

The PFCD Policy Platform can be accessed at: http://www.fightchronicdisease.org/issues/policy.cfm

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease:

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: chronic disease. For more information about the PFCD and its partner organizations, please visit: http://www.fightchronicdisease.org.


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SOURCE Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease
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